Throughout the years of pastoral ministry, one constant sin that has continued to surface during counseling sessions has been pornography. From young to old—it remains a massive pitfall for many men and an increasing number of women. In the Bible, we see a word used in the Greek “πορνεία” that is often translated sexual immorality. From that term we derive our English word, pornography. From this pit many men and women have perished.
The numbers regarding the pornographic industry are staggering. The industry generates billions of dollars annually and provides push button access to images and videos that are consumed by millions of men and women who are typing in words such as “adult” and “sex” into their smart phones by the minute.
Many monsters of society such as Bundy, Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, and John Wayne Gacy all professed to an ongoing porn addiction. That should not be something we read over too quickly. While pornography doesn’t always lead to serial murder, it rarely if ever remains self-contained within the realm of personal lust and sexual immorality. It almost always leads to additional types of rebellion.
The present evil world that we live in is like Vanity Fair. The glitter of sin is constantly surrounding us. Even if you don’t think you live in Vanity Fair, you live near Vanity Fair because the power of smart phones and technology. Beware of the perils of pornography.
The Perils of Pornography
All throughout the Scriptures, we are given the image of Satan as the ancient deceiver. In the Garden of Eden, he entices Eve and lures her away from God’s good provision to the forbidden fruit with deception. The ancient tactics of deception find their source in Satan’s toolbox. As the Scripture reveals, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Peril #1 – Deception
The first peril of pornography is deception. Being deceived is a horrible thing to experience. Perhaps you have been deceived by an online marketer or by a phone scam that cost you money as a result. The pornographic industry is built upon the foundation of deception. It creates a fake world with fake sexual freedom that results in much pain and often great destruction.
The devil has been masquerading as an angel of light from the beginning (2 Cor 11:14). The truth is, he’s an angel of darkness—the chief of all demons who love to deceive and destroy (John 10:10). One of the choicest tools used for devilish attacks is pornography. It strikes at the heart of the sanctity of human sexuality and destroys marriages and families. The subtlety of sin is often the danger. Sin never introduces itself as a deceitful devil or a powerful and destructive monster. The temptations of sin are deceptive tricks that the ancient enemy of God employs as traps that lead to much pain and destruction.
One common way pornography deceives a person is by making them believe that sex is a private and personal thing that can be performed alone. That is simply not true. Sex was never created by God for personal autonomy or to be performed in isolation. Sex by its very design is relational. Pornography creates the deceptive idea that a person doesn’t need marriage to enjoy sex, and that it’s possible to engage in sexual activity fueled by lust in isolation to the other person in the marriage covenant. This is a lie and it must be wholeheartedly rejected.
Peril #2 – Corruption
The pornographic industry corrupts a person’s view of human sexuality. God created sex as a good thing for marriage, not as a produced to be consumed for recreation purposes. The entire porn industry is built upon deception and deception leads to corruption. The fruit of pornography is a corrupt view of sex, but also a distortion of relationships.
Men who are enslaved by pornography often come to view women as objects to be consumed rather than people who should be respected and valued as image bearers of God. The pornography industry objectifies people and that type of consumption will impact how a man treats his wife in the general relationship of marriage as well as the marriage bed.
People who are consuming porn and are keeping it a secret from their spouses will ultimately lose their respect and trust when it’s revealed. It’s only a matter of time before a person’s sin will find them out. This is a high price to pay for something as cheap and disposable as pornography.
Peril #3 – Buyer’s Remorse
Sin will always take a person farther than they want to go, keep them longer than they are willing to stay, and cost them more than they are willing to pay. That is certainly true regarding pornography. Have you ever been tempted to purchase something at a shopping mall and after the purchase, you feel the regret of the purchase haunting you? It’s one thing to spend money that you didn’t have on something that you didn’t need. It’s quite a different thing to engage in porn use only to feel the disappointment of the sin weighing upon you on a regular basis.
According to the “American Perspectives Survey” by the Survey Center on American Life, only 26% of men who report having watched pornography in the past day say they are satisfied. The more you examine the statistics regarding those who watch pornography, it becomes evident that they consistently less than satisfied.
In fact, the study reveals that men who watched pornography recently report the highest rates of loneliness. The study reveals that 60% of men who watched pornography in the past 24 hours say they have felt loneliness and isolation. Those who use pornography are led to feelings of dissatisfaction and insecurity. When you consider the connection between suicide rates and porn use, it’s abundantly clear that those people who are entrapped by the porn industry are never truly satisfied. Porn is a product designed to never satisfy its customers in order to drive them back for further and more frequent consumption.
The Pathway to Victory
The beautiful truth of the gospel is that it’s the message of good news to fallen sinners. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul addresses the church and reminds them that they were all engaged in various lusts of the flesh and passions of sin. This is what Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 – ESV
The same gospel that forgives sinners is the same gospel that frees sinners from the trappings of sin (John 8:32, 36). As with any addiction, the path is not easy, but there is freedom in Christ to overcome the addiction. Sin enslaves people. It becomes their master and the addict becomes the slave. The pornography industry at the most basic level is a slave market. In order to be free from the slave market of sin, a person must be given the freedom through Jesus Christ. We see this in Romans 6 as Paul writes to the church at Rome:
We know that our old self was crucified with him [Jesus] in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.2 Romans 6:6 – ESV
We must also remember that the Scriptures are sufficient to address the perils of pornography. Although the Bible is an ancient book, it’s sufficient to address the complexities of our modern culture. The Bible has a high view of human sexuality. In short, God created sex as a good thing. When we come to view sex through a proper lens, we are able to have freedom over the depraved and twisted view of sex that flows out of the porn industry. As we study the Bible’s teachings regarding human sexuality and a biblical portrait of sex—we come to see it as sacred rather than a cheap commodity.
In order for anyone entrapped by the slave market of pornography to overcome the addiction, there must be a clear and true humble approach. There can be no excuse offered for the addiction. The person must come to God with a pure and broken heart and a true admission of guilt before genuine freedom over the sin can be achieved. If a person plays the ancient blame game regarding porn addiction, he or she will only continue to return to the addiction like a dog returns to its vomit (Prov 26:11).
When David was confronted by Nathan regarding his sin with Bathsheba, he didn’t blame her for accepting his invitation. He didn’t blame his servants for fetching her and bringing her into his chambers. He took responsibility and recognized that it was ultimately a sin first and foremost against God. We see his humility as we read Psalm 51. The truly humble soul cries out to God for mercy without qualification.
Pursuit of Holiness
The Christian who truly desires a life free from the addiction of pornography will need to strive for holiness. The Christian life involves both positional and progressive sanctification. Positionally speaking, at the moment of conversion we are in Christ and separated from the world. Regarding progressive sanctification, it’s a process. The Christian life is an ongoing marathon of sanctification. We must see that sin is crouching at the door on a daily basis (Gen 4:6-7). It was John Owen who once remarked, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” That could never be more true than with regard to pornography. The Christian must make a choice to never be ruled or enslaved by pornography in order to be successful.
The Christian life requires a steadfast approach to walking faithfully with the Lord. The demonic forces of this present age will continuously seek to lead a person back into the pit of pornography. The Christian life demands a daily dying to the flesh and a consecrated heart before the Lord. There is no other pathway to victory other than the path of ongoing sanctification and a true pursuit of holiness. Thomas Brooks observes:
A holy man knows that all sin strikes at the holiness of God, the glory of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the law of God: and therefore his heart rises against all; he looks upon every sin as the Scribes and Pharisees that accused Christ; and as that Judas that betrayed Christ; and as that Pilate that condemned Christ; and as those soldiers that scourged Christ; and as those spears that pierced Christ.3Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Vol. 6, (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1882) 239.
The next time you’re finding yourself enticed by pornography, view it as that Judas that betrayed Christ rather than the perceived beauty contained in the glittering image. The Christian must view pornography as a deadly viper. You would not take a deadly viper into your lap, so why would you embrace pornography considering that it’s far more destructive?
Dear Christian, there is hope for you in Christ. You can experience forgiveness for the use of pornography and freedom to overcome its power. Run to Christ and flee from the pit of porn. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, he illustrates this well when Christian and Hopeful find themselves as prisoners in the Dungeon of Doubting Castle.
When the two friends were journeying together to the Celestial City, they made a great error. They followed Vainglory off the path of righteousness down another path. It was there that he fell into a pit and died. They couldn’t see him fall, but they heard it! Then, suddenly, they were captured by the Giant and placed in the dungeon of Doubting Castle. They were abused, mistreated, and discouraged. It was then that Christian remembered that he had this special key, the Key of Promise, in his chest pocket that would open any door in the castle. He tried it, and as Bunyan recorded, it caused the lock to open with ease. They were able to escape and return to the path of righteousness.
The same promise remains true for us today. If we hide God’s Word in our hearts, we will learn to not sin against our Lord.
Psalm 119:11 – I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (ESV)
This software will enable you to have ongoing accountability within your inner circle of friends and family.
Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn – Tim Challies